February 19th, 2021

children of dune - leto 1

the week of deep winter

So we're now (hopefully) in the tail end of the winter storm that brought down--literally--the state of Texas. Which means I can (hopefully please) go home today.

The Setting

So because of the probability my apartment would lose power and water fairly quickly in a winter storm, Child, the bunnies, the puppy, and I went to my Mom's house to stay what I thought would be to Monday and what Child worried might be Wednesday so as not to freeze to death and also be hydrated.

(As it's Friday now, we were both very wrong about the timeframe. And also how bad it would get because holy shit.)

My apartment lost power I think at some point Sunday; my middle sister's apartment was the same. So as of Sunday night, my mom's house contained:
1.) three daughters
2.) one BIL
3.) four of six grandchildren (Child was staying with a friend he was helping move)
4.) three dogs (one mom's, one youngest sister's, one mine)
5.) six rabbits
6.) two cats.
Humans: 8
Pets: 11

Monday night, above with addition of:
1.) two (2) grandchildren, as the power went out at Child's friend's apartment so they went to their respective parents/grandparents, and my eldest niece, who lives with her dad, lost water and power.
2.) one (1) cats who does not belong here but stalks the house until a door opens and we gave up.
Humans: 10
Pets: 12

Tuesday night, above with addition of:
1.) two (2) neighborhood friends of my middle nephew (age 12)
Humans: 12
Pets: 12

Utilities Sometimes Optional

Fortunately, we didn't lose power except for about four hours on Tuesday morning (I think?) but we lost internet on Sunday and water Wednesday night. Internet came back veerrrrry early Thursday morning. Water is still pending.

My sister's apartment got both back sometime Wednesday afternoon, so she, BIL, and two of four grandkids went home that night. My apartment came back up yesterday but is going down again today for repairs at an unknown time for an unknown period of time and I don't even know. I just want to go home so much.

So That Happened

So I've visited Chicago in winter (I was prepped by Madelyn beforehand) and in my late teens I was an exchange student to Finland August to January, so I am distantly conversant with temperatures below 30F. Vaguely. As in I remember it happened.

But I cannot say enough that it happening here was utterly insane.

On Saturday night, there was a light sprinkling of snow on the ground that continued through Sunday; Sunday night, it apparently started snowing more. At 2:19 AM Monday morning, my sister told me to look outside and after a glance outside, I woke up in the house to come look. There was a blanket of snow on the ground. On a metal folding chair in the backyard, snow had piled, it was roughly five inches.

Austin had the third highest snowfall in its history at five (six?) inches; on my phone, the temperature went down to 6F on Monday and 4F on Tuesday. The official low was apparently 9F, which seriously is still insane.

The entire state is still reeling. There are still people without power; there are even more without water. We're on a boil notice in Austin and doubtless in other parts of Texas (excluding El Paso and the panhandle, who are part of the national grid and therefore were actually functional.

People froze to death. Others died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their vehicles trying to stay out of the cold. There's a not zero chance we'll find people who starved to death before this is over. The grocery stores--if you can get to one--are stripped bare and the state of delivery trucks seems to be 'pending'.

Pipes have burst, causing flooding in apartments and houses and the street. There are tree branches falling, in the process of falling, or are going to fall literally everywhere, which is a problem if a car or house are beneath them. Repeat that but with whole trees, which aren't as many but in relation to a car or house are even worse.

We actually don't know the extent of the aftermath yet; some people are still dumping snow in the toilet for flushing purposes; if you have electricity, you may or may not be boiling it first. Because I couldn't stop myself, I went to check the news and also noted the disaster continues for agriculture, livestock...well, everything.


I am unbelievably lucky that I could go to my mom's house, because my apartment, like most places in Texas, isn't made for these kinds of temperatures, especially without power, especially without power for roughly four and a half days. We were astronomically lucky that my Mom's house never lost power, which is actually weird.

So her house and some unknown number in this neighborhood are part of the grid that apparently couldn't be taken down during the failed attempt at rolling blackouts because, unlike most parts of Austin, they couldn't bring the power back up after. So far as we can work out, it's something to do with how old this neighborhood is; it's at minimum fifty years old and probably north of sixty; only a few streets away is the house we lived in when I was five years old before we moved into the country: that was forty years ago and it wasn't new then.

Which means that if our power and the neighborhood's power had gone out, that would (possibly?) mean that the electric grid was entirely FUBAR'ed instead of only mostly--like now--which I am very glad I didn't know.

The temperature outside right now is 34F. The snow is melting, and it doesn't feel real. Living it didn't feel real either, though, so no surprise there.

Texas Tribune: Texas was "seconds and minutes" away from catastrophic months long blackouts, officials say Posted at Dreamwidth: https://seperis.dreamwidth.org/1085806.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments